Rental market struggling to cope with demand

Rental market struggling to cope with demand
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland. Pic: Jason Clarke

A leading homelessness charity has responded to the stark figures contained in the most recent rental report, saying it shows a private rental market “struggling to cope with demand” and which “is not capable of delivering the housing needed to respond to the current housing and homelessness problem”.

The Simon Communities in Ireland went on to express concern about the emergence of a two-tier rental system, arguing that measures must impact all tenancies and limit rent increases within all tenancies.

“The soaring rents and plummeting supply within the private rented sector must be constantly monitored and addressed. These issues are preventing people from finding and sustaining affordable homes within the rental market. This in the fourth quarter in a row that a new rent high has been set. Unfortunately there was only a slight slowdown in inflation since the final quarter 2016, the highest on record, despite the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones,” said spokesperson Niamh Randall.

“Sitting tenants fared better than new tenants - their rent increases were half the size of those faced by new tenants. It appears Rent Pressure Zones are having some impact for sitting tenants but not for those entering or moving within the rental market thus creating a two tier rental system. Prospective tenants have zero bargaining power when entering new tenancies.” 

She said unfortunately the introduction of Rent Pressure Zone “did not go far enough”.

“Given the depth of the crisis, we need measures which impact all tenancies and limit rent increases within all tenancies. Full rent certainty and security of tenure are the building blocks for a stable rental sector and we renew our call for their urgent introduction,” she said.

“The number of people in emergency accommodation has continued to increase - it is now at nearly 7,500. Many of these are coming from the private rental sector where they have been unable to keep pace with rising rents. They have lost their home and cannot afford to put a roof over their heads. Some stay with extended family and, when that fails, they have no option but to enter homelessness.” 

She said more affordable private rental supply is “badly needed” to prevent more people from becoming homeless and ensure that people can leave homelessness behind.

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